The old town

The old town


Grenoble's old town (approximately 25 hectares) remains little changed since the time of the Religious Wars, other than the creation of the rue Président Carnot in the 19th century ant the rue de la République in the 20th century.

Densely populated, it offers a rich architectural heritage that represents all the time periodes from the historical development of the city.


Numerous vestiges of the Romain rampart (3rd century), the exceptional Saint Oyand crypt (6th century) and its 7th century colonnade, along with the largely conserved baptistery with its original paving tiles (5th and 6th centuries) make Grenoble an important center of the early Christian era.




The medieval city allows us to identify, on the left bank of the Isere river, the two power zones that opposed each other for a long time. To the east, the Episcopal district, which was a very influential area with the Notre Dame cathedral (12th, 13th centuries) and the cathedral and bishopric complex bordering Notre Dame square.  To the west, the delphinal district, built around Saint André square, was the seat of the Dauphins de Viennois power, with the Saint André collegiate church and the old Dauphiné parliament building (15th, 16th, 19th centuries) which is the prized jewel of Grenoble's architectural heritage.


The city's medieval heritage is marked by exclusive use of brick in the 13th and 14th centuries to build noble and religious edifices. This know-how was imported from Italy by Lombard and Tuscan masons.

Grenoble, parliamentary city under the Ancien Regime, has kept many witnesses of noble and bourgeois urban architecture from the end of the 15th century to the time of the Empire. We can see several remarkable doors and ancient ironwork.

The city of Grenoble, throught its Urban Heritage and Rehabilitation Department pursues its restoration and beautification campaigns.


In July 2005, the old city and the neighborhoods from the first half of the 19th century were classified as ZPPAUPs, which stands fro Architectural, Urban, and Landscape Protection Zones. The goal of this ZPPAUP is to protect and promote the historic center. Regulations were established according to the characteristics of the different sectors and types of architecture. It must be respected in case of any rehabilitation or restoration work. Work permits are issued by city hall.



Rich architectural and historical heritage just waits to be discovered during one of the guided visits offered year round by Grenoble Tourism!